This first volume contains nearly five hundred correspondences written between 1734–1742. It is said of these letters in the preface, "his friends, and even his enemies (should there be any such) will here openly behold his unwearied diligence, undaunting firmness, noble disinterestedness, and exceeding usefulness in the work of the ministry; also, his remarkable fidelity in friendship, exemplary piety, and fervent zeal for the prosperity of pure and undefiled religion."
Reading the life of such a great saint—this Christ-loving, gospel-centered minister—has served to rekindle my passion for the gospel and rejuvenate the love of God in my soul more than once.
George Whitefield (1714–1770) was born in Gloucester, England. The son of a poor widow, he went on to study at Oxford, where he met Charles and John Wesley. The Wesley brothers were a part of what was referred to as the "Holy Club" on campus, which Whitefield joined and by which he was quite influenced, later becoming the president. His passion for theater and public speaking made him quite popular quickly as he became a traveling evangelist, and his projective voice allowed him to speak outdoors rather than in a church setting. He believed in preaching his sermons without notes in order to allow room for the Holy Spirit to guide his speaking, and was known for his theatrical delivery. In 1738, he came to America for the first of seven trips he would make across the ocean. During this first trip, he founded the orphanage Bethseda, just outside of Savannah, GA. Throughout his life, he toured all over New England, as well as England, Scotland, and Wales, preaching to crowds of up to tens of thousands at a time, greatly influencing the Great Awakening and the early Methodist Church.